George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to the First Church of Woodstock, 24 March 1776

To the First Church of Woodstock

Headquarters Cambridge 24th March 1776

Mr Leonard is a man whose exemplary Life and Conversation, must make him highly esteemd by every person, who has the pleasur⟨e⟩ of being acquainted with him—the Congregation of Woodstock Know him well, it therefore Can be no Surprise to us, to hear that they will be Loth to part with him, his usefulness in this Army is great—he is employed in the glorious work of attending to the Morals, of a brave people who are fighting for their Liberties, the Liberties of the people of Woodstock, the Liberties of all America, We therefore hope—that Knowing how nobly he is employed—the Congregation of Woodstock will chearfully give up to the public, a gentleman So very usefull, and when by the blessing of a Kind providence this glorious & unparaleld Struggle for our Liberties, is at an end, We have not the Least doubt, but Mr Leonard will with redoubld joy, be receivd in the open arms of a Congregation So very dear to him, as the good people of Woodstock are.1

this is, what is hoped for, this is what is expected by the Congregation of Woodstocks Sincere well wishers and Very Humble Servants

Go: Washington

Israel Putnam

L, in Stephen Moylan’s writing and signed by GW and Putnam, owned (1970) by Jane S. Kuhn, Fayette, Missouri.

1For the Rev. Abiel Leonard’s recent appointment as chaplain of two Continental regiments, see General Orders, 7 Feb. 1776. For his earlier service, see GW to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 15 Dec. 1775, and Israel Putnam to John Hancock, 1777, DNA:PCC, item 159. Leonard’s congregation in Connecticut soon gave him permission to remain with the army, and he apparently served as a chaplain until the end of 1776. On 9 May 1777 John Adams expressed a wish to Nathanael Greene that GW reappoint Leonard a chaplain or recommend him to Congress (Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 7:48–50), but in July 1777 Leonard, who had become seriously ill, took his life by cutting his throat.

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